This is the type of initiative that could really set us apart, Birmingham: growing the Southeastern tech ecosystem by promoting diversity and finding economic opportunities.
Southern Tech Opportunities
According to their website, the Bronze Valley Initiative is a new nonprofit dedicated to promoting economic opportunities for underrepresented business leaders in technology and innovation.
“For Bronze Valley to be successful, diversity has to be more than just a discussion. We have to make a real, positive impact on entrepreneurs in Birmingham and states throughout the Southeast, ” said Neill Wright, Executive Director of Bronze Valley.
The initiative wants to create an “education-to-opportunity-to-outcome pipeline” in technology careers here in Birmingham, in the South and across the nation.
“We will be a catalyst for change,” Wright said. “We’re building an ecosystem for innovation, diversity and growth.”
- Attracting capital for startups
- Providing active mentorship for entrepreneurs
- Technology-based business development
“There is a need,” says Wright, a 25-year veteran in banking and finance. “And, there is an opportunity to meet that need. As business leaders, we have an obligation to enhance and improve our ecosystem for growth.”
Ready, Set, Go!
Bronze Valley held their first conference today, as a way to bring together top corporate executives, elected officials, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, policymakers and thought leaders from across the country.
Conference moderators, speakers and panelists scheduled:
- Kwame Anku, Co-Founder and Principal of Black Angel Tech
- Michael Madison, Founding Partner and Director-General at Orogenesis
- Shegun Otulana, Founder and CEO of TheraNest
- Mazi Rasulnia, Co-Founder and President of Pack Health
- Sterling Smith, Founding Partner at Keystoke Inc. and Sandbox Commerce
- Hank Torbert, President of Alta Max LLC
- Jared Weinstein, General Partner at Thrive Capital
Tech In The South
For more evidence of the South’s growing tech sector, check out Deloitte’s annual Technology Fast 500 list. While you won’t see Birmingham on it (yet), 25 southern companies made the list. Atlanta is killing it. The South is ripe for tech growth, and it looks like Birmingham is jumping right in.
Bronze Valley hopes to build the local tech community by tracking:
- The number of jobs created
- The number of companies started, attracted and expanded
- The number of educational opportunities provided
“It’s about creating and perpetuating a culture and reputation of innovation for communities that face barriers to the tech economy,” said John O. Hudson III, a founder of Bronze Valley and member of its board. Hudson is also senior vice president for marketing and business development for Alabama Power.
Let’s see how far they’re going to go, Birmingham. Check them out on Facebook.